Many of us set health goals at the beginning of the year, but we often give up after only a few weeks. Why is that? It’s because we set the bar too high. Instead, make these small, easy changes to improve your health.
It’s common that when we want to improve our health, we make it too hard. We are too ambitious (want big results quickly) or try to be too perfect (the “I will never eat carbs again” mentality).
No wonder we fail, and shortly thereafter, give up completely.
This year, try a new approach: baby steps.
Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect, says:
Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE
That’s why I put together this list of 12 hacks to will help you improve your health that don’t involve kale or burpees.
- Eat more veggies.
Veggies are packed with tons of nutrients that do powerful things in our bodies. Veggies are the Avengers of foods. If you only make 1 change to your diet, this is it. Start with eating more of the veggies you already like, and then experiment with new veggies.
- Swap sugary drinks for water.
Even if you still eat sweets, you can eliminate a ton of sugar from your diet by swapping soda, fruit juices, sweetened teas and “frappa, latte, cino” coffee drinks for water. Plus drinking more water naturally detoxes your body, improves your complexion and may help with weight loss.
- Consume probiotics.
All the latest nutrition research is showing that many of the health problems we face are the result of poor gut health. But you can improve your gut health by eating probiotics, which are in foods like yogurt, kombucha and fermented veggies. At the very least, make sure you are taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.
- Take a technology break.
Give your eyes and posture a rest by getting away from your phones, tablets, TVs and computers for at least 15 minutes a day. Unplugging is critical in our available 24/7 world.
- Move every hour.
They say sitting is the new smoking, so make sure you are moving at least once every hour. Activity trackers can remind you to get moving or simply set a reminder on your phone that goes off every hour.
- Keep a food journal.
Just the act of writing down what you eat will make you more aware of how much and what types of foods you are eating. If you’ve already written down 10 Oreos, the thought of writing down another 10 Oreos may discourage you from eating them.
- Prioritize sleep.
Many of us skimp on sleep in order to get more accomplished or have more time to ourselves. But our bodies pay the price for that decision. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep for your mental and physical health.
- Try to eat mindfully.
How often do we eat while standing, using our phones or doing something else? Make a conscious effort to sit down while eating and pay attention to how your food tastes. Really enjoy the experience.
- Always eat off a plate, not out of the bag.
It’s much easier to eat a half a bag of chips if you eat from the bag than if you put them on a plate. Combine serving your food on a plate and eating mindfully, and you’ll naturally eat less.
- Don’t keep trigger foods in the house.
You know your trigger foods. We all have those foods we cannot say no to. Whether it’s ice cream or pasta, don’t keep your trigger food in the house. It’s better to make a special trip to enjoy your favorite food at a restaurant than it is to have 24/7 access to it at home.
- Keep healthy food visible and ready-to-eat.
The opposite of #10, keep healthy foods like fruits and veggies prepped and very visible so you reach for these first if you want to nibble on something or are just too lazy to fix food.
- Spend at least 10 minutes daily on a quiet, relaxing activity.
We live in a busy, noisy world where quiet is hard to find. It is overload on our minds and causes stress, which hurts our efforts to get healthier. Take 10 minutes each day to be quiet. You might like to read, go for a walk, just sit still, color, pray or journal. Find an activity that is restorative to you.
And most importantly, don’t try to add all these new habits at once. Talk about overload.
Start one new habit at a time and give yourself a chance to get in a rhythm before moving to the next.
Baby step your way into accomplishing your health goals, and this year will be your healthiest yet.